Drake Falls To No. 54 Wichita State In MVC Championship, 4-0
NORMAL, Ill. – The Drake women’s tennis team came up short in its bid to claim the 2014 Missouri Valley Conference Championship title and the Bulldogs’ initial NCAA Tournament berth since 2000 as 54th-ranked Wichita State (19-6) registered a 4-0 victory on Sunday (April 27) in the tournament finale.
The title match appearance was the first for Drake (16-6) since falling to Illinois State, 4-0, on April 29, 2001. The Bulldogs were attempting to record their first win past the Shockers since netting a 6-1 triumph on April 25, 2005.
“To do what we have done this season with six girls playing every match and putting the hours on the tennis court on a daily is inspiring,” Drake head coach Sadhaf Pervez commented. “For the team to be in their first championship final is a great experience for next year. We almost had the doubles point and I feel like that would have been great momentum for us in the singles. The best teams play their best on the last day of the tournament.”
The key to the Bulldogs upset bid was the ability to capture the doubles point as Drake entered the showdown with the Shockers 13-0 when winning the doubles tally.
Wichita State struck first in doubles claiming an 8-5 decision on the No. 6 court before Julia Schiller and Abby Stevens won the tiebreaker at the No. 3 position to clinch the tally with a 8-7 (7) triumph past sophomores Mariel Ante (Riverside, Calif.) and Jordan Eggleston (LaQuinta, Calif.).
The No. 2 Drake tandem of junior Nell Boyd (Arlington Heights, Ill.) and sophomore Maddie Johnson (Onalaska, Wis.) was tied at six in their contest with Montse Blasco Fernandez and Rebecca Pedrazzi when the doubles point was decided.
Senior Klavdija Rebol (Kranj, Slovenia) came up short in her final match as a Bulldog as Schiller extended Wichita State’s advantage with a 6-1, 6-0 victory to open singles play.
Rebol finished her Drake career with a 136-96 combined singles/doubles record, representing the second-best mark since the 2006-07 campaign. She also concluded her efforts rated second all-time (since 1990-91) in doubles victories (75).
The Shockers added triumphs at the Nos. 4 and 6 positions to claim their sixth consecutive MVC Championship title.
Johnson, who was seeking her team-leading 32nd singles victory of the season, won the first set of her tilt versus Lucia Kovalova on the No. 4 court, 6-3, before falling in the second frame, 6-2. Play was suspended before a point was recorded in the final set.
After making great strides in first year under the leadership of Pervez, the Bulldogs will return nearly their entire line-up next season as only Rebol graduates for Drake.
“We have made our mark this year in the MVC in what our Drake tennis program is about,” said Pervez. “It was a great collegiate match today by both teams, they just played better.”
NO. 54 WICHITA STATE (19-6) DEF. DRAKE (16-6), 4-0
APRIL 27, 2014 • NORMAL, ILL.
No. 1 Julia Schiller (WSU) def. Klavdija Rebol (DU), 6-1, 6-0
No. 2 Rebecca Pedrazzi (WSU) leading Mariel Ante (DU), 7-5, 4-1 unfinished
No. 3 Maddie Johnson (DU) vs. Lucia Kovalova (WSU), 6-3, 2-6 unfinished
No. 4 Abby Stevens (WSU) def. Nell Boyd (DU), 6-3, 6-1
No. 5 Montse Blasco Fernandez (WSU) leading Jordan Eggleston (DU), 6-4, 2-4 unfinished
No. 6 Veronika Blaskova (WSU) def. Lea Kozulic (DU), 6-1, 6-2
Order of finish: 1,6,4
No. 1 Blaskova/Kovalova (WSU) def. Kozulic/Rebol (DU), 8-5
No. 2 Boyd/Johnson (DU) vs. Blasco Fernandrez/Pedrazzi (WSU), 6-6 unfinished
No. 3 Schiller/Stevens (WSU) def. Ante/Eggleston (DU), 8-7 (7)
Order of finish: 1,2